The New Zealand kiwifruit industry is beginning to look forward with a sense of cautious optimism after two tough years of having to learn how to manage the bacterial disease Psa, Zespri chairman Peter McBride says. Mr McBride was talking after the 2013 Zespri Annual Meeting, held in Tauranga, today, which was attended by more than 300 grower-shareholders.
In addressing the meeting, Mr McBride said while the industry’s path out of Psa remained uncertain, it had made tremendous progress since 2010, when the disease was first confirmed in New Zealand.
“We have come a long way, learnt a lot and taken some really positive steps to returning the industry to growth again. This spring will be a critical time in understanding how well we are doing, which is why we say there is cautious optimism in the industry rather than stating categorically that we are on the path to recovery,” Mr McBride said.
Mr McBride told grower-shareholders that 2012/13 delivered strong results.
“We had the highest Green returns since 2003, record Gold returns and the highest Organic returns since 2008.”
He said the strong results are due to Zespri’s commitment to a long-term strategy to build Green returns and improvements in supply chain performance right across the industry.
These strong returns were likely to continue into this season, based on season sales to date.
“Fruit markets are strong and we are having a vintage-taste season following the hot dry summer, which means demand is strong across our markets” Mr McBride said.